Thursday, 15 November 2012

Turkey Red - going round in circles

Kathie at the Inspired by Antique Quilts blog posted about her little red and white quilt yesterday, which reminded me I wanted to use some of that red repro print for a project of mine. 'Square in a Square' is by Andover Fabrics from the from the International Quilt Study Center in collaboration with Jo Morton & Kathy Hall.

The project I have in mind will be based on this quilt, the Circles Quilt in the Quilt Museum's collection at York.  I saw it when I went to the Turkey Red exhibition, one of the first exhibitions at the Museum after it opened in 2008. This photo is from the Museum website (link above), although the online inventory of the collection wasn't available at the time of the exhibition.

 Photography wasn't allowed so I could only take notes in a sketchbook and for a while this was all I had.  I do find this a useful way of stripping a design down to the salient points however.  Initially, I planned to make a quilt with a pieced top, something akin to a stack & whack or a kaleidoscope. Click photo below to enlarge the pages. Hope you can read my handwriting! It's a tiny notebook, about 5 x 4in - I carry it everywhere.

I started collecting fabric for it (and another Turkey Red project - see further down this post) - stuff like these lovely repro prints.  IMHO, there aren't enough reproductions of proper Turkey Red prints.  They were such a staple of mid & late nineteenth century quilts and even the reproductions, which never have quite the intensity of the old Turkey Red colourfast dye, still have the wow factor for me.

I was very happy when Pippa Moss found the same fabric as the orignal Circles quilt unquilted, and posted this photo of it on her Welsh Quilts blog (click here to read her blog post).  Of course, this meant I could see the fabric in even more detail than on the Museum website.  The 'ferns' in the IQSC print will do nicely for the fronds around the central medalion, although I'm still on the lookout for the 'blue lilies' in the outer circles.  By fussy cutting and rearranging motifs from the prints above, I should be able to make a nice broderie perse applique version of this fabric.  Not sure when I'll have time to do it, but at least I'm getting the essential ingredients together.

Another project inspiration involving Turkey Red repros is this utility quilt, another from Pippa's collection, photographed when it toured with Grosvenor Shows in 2009.  I like the quirkiness of this slightly improvisational medalion quilt, and have been putting fabric on one side for a version of that too. Not enough repro fabrics have the touches of vivid blues in them, which is a shame. Wouldn't it be great to be able to find something like the big chrysanthemum print on the side strips?  I think some of the IQSC fabric might end up in my interpretation of this quilt too.  Mary Jenkins on the Little Welsh Quilts blog has already made a small version of it which features in her e book of the same name.  Mine will be a bit bigger, more irregular and probably quilted in sashiko thread (the original has off white quilting).

Have fun exploring the links above!


antique quilter said...

oh I love turkey red fabrics too! I LOVE this circle quilt I can't wait to see your creations based on this one.
what a great little notebook I need something like that!
perfect size to carry everywhere!
Pippa's quilt collection is inspiring isn't it? I will have to go back and check out the fabric post of hers.

Susan Briscoe said...

Pippa's blog - and yours :-) - are two of my favourites. Although a lot of my work has Japanese influences/designs, I love heritage quilts too. There's so much to discover by making new pieces inspired by antique quilts.